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I will be the first to admit I am not fond of this type of music, it isn't the silly fantasy themes and theatrics that put me off, admittedly I do enjoy some aspects of fantasy in entertainment and literature. The problem with this type of music is that it is almost never done well. Back when I was just discovering the genre of black metal I went through myriads of this sort of music, I was willing to give almost anything a listen, be it folk, pagan, Viking or any other type of "black metal" that would rely on the imagery that was brought forth through the music with arrangements, use of various traditional instruments, certain production values and orchestration. This type of music almost always fails in its delivery, for the most part the compositions go absolutely nowhere and the songwriting is very weak and lacks any direction, it as if there is no one competent enough to pull this type of thing off. Despite all the hype around this two man project, all the rave reviews and the many fans that proclaim their works as masterpieces, Summoning are no exception and are completely uninspired.
After hearing so much about this band I finally decided to check them out a year or so ago, it was this album I first obtained, tried listening to it a few times but ended up deleting it to make room for something more interesting. It was only recently, after reading their laughable political statement I decided to give them another listen and write an accurate review but I kept putting it off because of lack of interest and willingness to obtain an album of theirs. Lucky for you and me, I was looking in my computers recycling bin and to my surprise, this album was still sitting in there a year later so now I had no excuse not to review it.
Summoning are a quite prominent force coming from Austria, this duo is heavily inspired by the works of Tolkien and other forms of fantasy, just like another modern incarnation of fantasy, Harry Potter, Summonings brand of epic metal, full of bombastic compositions has been bringing wonder and amazement to children worldwide. From looking at the artwork and reading the lyrics, you know what Summoning is all about without even listening to a note of music, they want to put the fantasy that is contained in Middle-Earth to music. That is what they may want to do, but they certainly don't. The opener immediately reminds me of something you would hear as an intro to an old Zelda game or any other Nintendo fantasy game. As the music continues the sound matures and graduates to the more modern sound of a Playstation game soundtrack. This music is described as "Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal", but after the first couple songs it is clear this has little do with black metal. The music on this release remains consistently uninteresting, the compositions are completely unmemorable and are simply a mess. I would have thought after so many albums this band would know how to produce their music so the full effect is felt but that is not the case as the production on this release is ill-fitted for this type of music.The guitars are simply way too overpowering and when the vocals and keys kick in it sounds like each instrument is fighting for the foreground of the music. This isn't really a huge deal but I get the feeling this could have been done a lot better. The main problem with this release is the sheer incompetence of the people writing the music. These compositions go absolutely nowhere, the keys build up to something which could potentially be quite interesting but then it stops and the loop starts over. These people should really learn a thing or two about songwriting before they decide take their instruments out and record another album. I get the feeling these people have the illusion they are great composers but just like all others like them that wish to bring great arrangements and orchestrations to modern music, they are not. There is really nothing special about this music, the vocals are pretty standard and full of effects, the drums sound pretty good for being programmed and they are the framework of the music, but they stay in the same almost tribal style throughout, uninteresting drum work to compliment the uninteresting compositions. Nothing new at all in the guitar department, the guitar carries the music along with the keys and sticks to patterns that don't progress or amount to anything. After an hour of this nonsense it is finally over and I am left with the feeling that this could have been done a lot better if the people behind it put more thought into what they were doing. Overall this is just another overrated and unmemorable release.
This gets some points because from what I have heard of their releases before this, there has been some progression, as well as a couple interesting moments but this is largely a failure. This is a very unimaginative release for a band that relies so heavily on fantasy. This is above all the projects coming out now which consist of opening Fruity Loops and layering some synth lines, but what isn't? My advice to all who wish to create something like this is stop thinking you're some great composer because you aren't and your music will suck. 20/100.